Job openings fall to lowest level in 2 years as demand for workers cools
Aug 1, 2023, 7:28 AM
(AP Photo/Alex Slitz, File)
WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. employers posted fewer jobs in June, a sign that the red-hot demand for workers that has been a key feature of the post-pandemic economy is cooling a bit.
Job openings dropped to 9.6 million in June, the Labor Department said Tuesday, down slightly from the previous month but much lower than the 10.3 million in April and the fewest in more than two years. The government’s report also showed that the number of people who quit their jobs in June fell sharply to 3.8 million from 4.1 million, another sign the job market is slowing.
The Federal Reserve is seeking to cool the job market, because if cpompanies are less desperate to hire, and fewer workers are quitting to seek higher-paying positions elsewhere, then businesses will be under less pressure to raise pay to find and keep workers. Smaller pay hikes could help lower inflation, since businesses won’t have to lift their prices to offset higher labor costs.
Tuesday’s report means there are 1.6 jobs for every unemployed worker, down from a peak of 1.9 earlier this year, though still higher than before the pandemic.
On Friday, the government is set to release the July jobs report, which will show how many positions were added in July and whether the unemployment rate fell below its current level of 3.6%, which is near the lowest in a half-century. Economists forecast the report will show a gain of 200,000 jobs, with the unemployment rate unchanged, according to a survey by data provider FactSet.
Since the economy first emerged from the pandemic, job openings have soared — reaching a record 12 million in March 2022. Before the pandemic, they had never topped 7.6 million.